- to fear greatly;
- to be in extreme aprehension of;
- to be reluctant (to do, meet, experience)
Dread. Even the word, itself, seems marinated in evil and ill will, doesn’t it? Yet, ironically, most of the things we dread aren’t marinated in much more than inconvenience or maybe a little self doubt.
Many people dread going to work each Monday morning. For 12 years, I dreaded going to school each Monday morning. And Tuesday, and Wednesday…
I think a lot of Monday dreads come from the fact that it’s on the other side of Paradise, also known as the weekend. Weekends are brief little reminders of how things could be if we were 4 years old and Monday morning is nothing more than a big mean time machine.
No wonder it has such a bad rep.
Many issues in life, however, feel heavier than Mondays. Whether it’s a public speaking engagement, a wedding role, a dentist visit, or any event that feels like a black cloud following you around, you have to remind yourself to keep things in perspective. A reminder is often needed because, let’s face it, once our emotions get involved, reason AND perspective fly right out the window.
Keep it in Perspective, Chief
- The event will, more likely than not, be a ONE and DONE type event. It’ll probably last, at most, a mere few hours out of ONE day. A ONE and DONE. Each minute you spend agonizing over it takes the ONE and multiplies it. If you, collectively, spend an hour agonizing over the event, you’ve taken a ONE on a stress scale and made it a SIXTY. That’s simply giving it much more power than it deserves.
- If the event is, admittedly a minor event, think of times in your life when you’d have loved to have traded places. A girl I knew in high school always amazed the rest of us. Not only did she not dread and agonize over giving speeches in class, she almost seemed to enjoy it. Never being one to shy away from asking questions that needed to be asked, one day I questioned her about it. Turns out she had spent a lot (as in months on end) of time in a children’s hospital and had endured (at that time) several grueling surgeries. She said that she used to get really nervous about speaking in front of class until her father told her one night, “Leslie, you’ve lived through far worse than this. You lived through 10s… this is a 2.” She told me that it rang a bell for her and that, after than night, any time she felt overwhelmed by anything, she heard his voice. Perspective.
- Ask yourself, “Is the dread coming from a lack of self confidence?” If it is, ask yourself a follow up question, “What are three proactive things you can do to make yourself feel more confident.” If you’re like me (God love you), it may be as simple as a great new top or earrings that are “to die for.” If the event or situation will involve something you don’t feel very knowledgeable about, brush up on the subject. Armed with knowledge and a snazzy new top, you’ll feel unstoppable and may even begin counting the days to to the event rather than dreading them.
- Proceed with caution with this one, but some people soothe their nerves by asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” I’ll be honest, my imagination is far too advanced and far too outrageous for me to even attempt this one, but if you’re a normal person, this may work well for you! Again, it’s all about perspective.
- While the tip above is out of my league, I’m all over this one: Find the silver lining, even if you have to sew it in yourself. There may be 110 million things I am unable to do in this world, but one that I pretty much own is the ability to find the good in bad, the beauty in ugly, and the positive in the negative. I know that God endows us all with certain talents and abilities and I thank Him for this particular ability – it has carried me through many storms in life. No matter what you’re dreading, look for the positive. Find the silver lining and focus entirely on it. Even if it’s as simple as, “This will soon be over and I’ll never have to dread it again.” Search out the “pretty” and stare at it like it’s the most beautiful sunset you ever saw.
- Thinking about things you’ve dreaded in the past. More times than not, your “past dreads” turned out better than you’d hoped. Before beginning this article, I thought back to the “minor dreads” I’d experienced in life. (These, of course, don’t include things such as funerals or surgeries – they’re anything but minor and require more than seven tips to survive.) Not only were my past dreads not worth the hype I’d given them, I actually didn’t mind them in the least. Many times, things I dreaded turned out to be downright enjoyable.
- Be smart about where you put your energy. Many times when we dread something, we spend an embarrassing amount of time trying to “get out of it.” We’ll pray, bargain, plan, scheme… anything to find our way around the inevitable. Wouldn’t that time be better spent preparing for the moment or…. I don’t know… living? Dreading isn’t living!
Keep everything in perspective and don’t create a monster out of a mosquito.
“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” – Dale Carnegie